How to Change a Kitchen Sink Drain
Is your kitchen sink draining slower than usual or not draining at all? Clogged and damaged sink drains are a common issue that can happen after years of use. Food particles, grease, hair, and other gunk can build up inside the pipes, causing blockages that prevent water from properly draining. Luckily, with the right tools and instructions, installing a new P-trap assembly is an attainable DIY project for most homeowners.
Changing out a kitchen sink drain involves carefully dismantling the existing setup, thoroughly cleaning the drain pipe, then installing a new P-trap configuration. This comprehensive guide will outline all the steps needed to tackle this project like a pro. With a little time and effort, you can have a fully functioning sink drain that will last for years to come.
Step 1: Removing the Old Drain
The first step in replacing your kitchen sink drain is removing the current assembly. Start by gathering the necessary tools: basin wrench, adjustable wrench, bucket, rag, flashlight. Turn off the hot and cold water supply valves located under the sink. Then disconnect the drain pipes from the wall outlet and set the bucket underneath to catch any water remaining in the pipes.
Locate the curved section of pipe attached to the bottom of the sink tailpiece called the P-trap. Use your wrench to loosen the slip joints and detach the curved section from the tailpiece. You should also disconnect the pipe connecting to the wall drain outlet. Remove the entire trap assembly and set it aside.
Unscrewing the Tailpiece and Basket Strainer
With the P-trap disconnected, unscrew and remove the tailpiece from the bottom of the sink strainer. Use your basin wrench to reach up inside the drain opening and turn the basket strainer counterclockwise to unscrew it from the sink. Remove any old plumber’s putty sealant from around the strainer rim.
Thoroughly clean the sink basin and drain opening with the rag. Inspect the drain pipe for any cracks or damage. Also check the sink rim for deterioration or flaws. Address any issues before installing the new drain assembly.
Step 2: Installing the New P-Trap
With the old drain removed, it’s time to install the new kitchen sink drain P-trap assembly. First apply a fresh ring of plumber’s putty around the rim of the drain opening, where the new basket strainer will attach.
Attach the new tailpiece to the threaded section of the strainer. Apply thread seal tape to prevent leaks. Place the basket strainer into the sink drain opening and turn clockwise to tighten into place.
Connecting the P-Trap Sections
Connect the tailpiece to the u-shaped section called the u-bend. Slide a slip nut compression fitting over both pieces before joining. Tighten the nut with your wrench. Next, attach the shorter curved section called the trap arm into the u-bend, again using a slip joint nut to secure the connection.
Make sure the entire trap assembly is angled correctly to hold several inches of water in the u-bend curve. Test fit to ensure proper positioning under the sink before connecting to the drain outlet pipe.
Step 3: Connecting to Sink Drain Pipe
With the P-trap fully assembled, you can now connect it to the sink drain pipe in the wall. The trap arm may need to be extended with additional tubing and an elbow joint. Measure and cut a length of pipe to reach the wall outlet.
Use slip joints to connect the trap arm to the elbow and extension pipe. Use an adjustable wrench to tighten all the slip joints securely. Make sure the P-trap assembly is aligned properly with no kinks or dips before connecting to the outlet pipe.
Making Secure Connections
Apply thread seal tape to the threads before screwing extension pipes together for a watertight seal. Slide compression nuts over joints between pipes. Tighten them with your wrench, being careful not to over tighten. All slip joints should be snug but still allow a little wiggle room.
With everything positioned correctly, attach the end of the trap arm extension to the drain pipe outlet. Double check alignment and threading before tightening the connection. Test the positioning by filling the sink with water and checking for smooth drainage.
Step 4: Leak Testing and Finishing Touches
With all the pieces in place, it’s time to check your work. Turn on the hot and cold water supply and fill the sink. Look carefully under the sink for any drops of water or leaks at the joints. Tighten any slip joints or connections if needed.
Remove the drain stopper and allow the sink to fully drain. Check for proper water flow without gurgling or backing up. Wipe up any water or putty under the sink.
Verifying Proper Installation
Run a large amount of water down the drain to verify sufficient flow. Look from all angles and below to ensure no leaks. Your P-trap should maintain a consistent slope to fully drain.
Check above the sink for any drips around the basket strainer drain. Tighten or apply more putty as needed. Test draining several times to ensure smooth water flow. If aligned and sealed properly, your new kitchen sink drain is ready for years of food scraps, hairballs and dirty dishwater!
Troubleshooting Common Problems
While most kitchen sink drain installations go smoothly, issues can come up. Here are some potential problems and how to address them:
- Leaks around strainer – Apply more plumber’s putty or tighten basket strainer.
- Joint leaks – Tighten slip joint nuts or reposition pipes as needed.
- Slow drainage – Disassemble to clear debris or clogs.
- Gurgling noises – Adjust P-trap pipes to proper slope.
- Corroded strainer – Replace old strainer with new one.
Tackling a kitchen sink drain replacement seems daunting, but with this detailed DIY guide you can feel confident taking it on. The key is taking your time, making secure slip joint connections, and double-checking for leaks. Soon you’ll have a freely draining sink and some new plumbing skills under your belt.
Be sure to share any tips or questions about your kitchen sink drain project in the comments below! With the right preparation and tools, even first-timers can master this essential home plumbing job.